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Byline: Sharon Edelson
Still in Demand
Interest in sustainable and organic products remains strong.
In this dreary economic environment, where consumers are less willing to spend on discretionary products, many retailers are finding that interest in sustainable or organic apparel is still strong.
Barneys New York made a commitment to organic and sustainable products when it launched a major initiative in February 2007 with the introduction of casualwear collection Loomstate for Barneys Green in its 12 Co-op units. Barneys also held a "green" holiday in December 2007, with store windows, advertising and catalogues displaying an environmental theme.
Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys, who helped spearhead the effort for the retailer, said demand has not waned at the luxury level. "The economy has not dampened our efforts to bring quality, authentic, sustainable merchandise into the store," she said. "I think it is a misconception that [organic or sustainable] is more expensive to produce and slightly higher-priced at retail. The fact is that during tough economic times, a store must bring in merchandise that is the best quality for the price and …